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PDA or anxiety from ASD?

(20 Posts)
legodisasterzone Wed 18-Jan-17 08:02:36

Hi. I have name changed for this,but have been around this board for years.

DD2 is on the ASD pathway,with professionals agreeing there are very definitely concerns. She is 12.
For context, DC1 also has ASD.

DD2 presents very differently to DD1 and over the past few months,has become very anxious and upset when any demand at all is made of her.
For example,reminding her that she needs to put her shoes on can lead to crying,rocking or shouting.

Asking her to decide between two different options for tea last night led to her stuttering, panicking and getting upset. She just couldn't choose.

I know a bit about PDA and am going to discuss it with her school SENCO,but I just don't know if she fits the profile or if it stems from anxiety- she is extremely anxious.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this please? I don't know if it's worth trying out PDA strategies or if I'm jumping the gun?

Something has to give though. DD1 is really struggling to cope with the screaming;etc, which adds to the problem.Many thanks

user1483945709 Wed 18-Jan-17 08:22:40

I think pda strategies wouldn't do any harm, regardless of where the anxiety is stemming from.

PolterGoose Wed 18-Jan-17 08:28:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

legodisasterzone Wed 18-Jan-17 09:01:49

Thanks for the responses- that supports my thinking. I need to spend this afternoon checking out some strategies.
Can I ask- does this behaviour need to be exhibited in every setting? At school, it manifests as DD trying to become invisible,to avoid any attention and therefore requests.
However,she doesn't have meltdowns at school.

user1483945709 Wed 18-Jan-17 09:12:32

It's very common for dc's to hold it together in school and meltdown at home. Meltdown at home, doesn't necessirly mean that is where triggers lie.

PolterGoose Wed 18-Jan-17 09:30:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

imip Wed 18-Jan-17 09:34:35

I suspect dd has PDA but is diagnosed with ASD. Like your dc she can't make decisions and panicks when she can't work out what to do with spare time. She is extremely anxious and hostile. We've seen some 'improvement' in many challenging situations e.g., going to school, by using pda techniques, then refined with visual timetable to leave her in control.

She presents with none of these characteristics at school, where she has traditionally been very compliant and well performing. It's taken a little no time for the SENCO to 'get' it, but now is really up-to-speed with girls, masking, PDA etc etc. It doesn't always translate into good support and our LA is shit do we are struggling getting an ehcp.

Additionally, dd is now starting to struggle at school and showing some very obsessive and repetitive behaviours with friends.

zzzzz Wed 18-Jan-17 11:25:40

This struck home to me. My considered but non professional opinion is that PDA is one way anxiety from ASD can be manifested. So "yes" to both options from me grin

zzzzz Wed 18-Jan-17 11:32:25

Struck home for me hmm blasted phone. I speak perfectly unremarkably in person blush

legodisasterzone Wed 18-Jan-17 11:51:11

Polter that sounds like something you have experience of and I can only imagine how draining it is- DD is exhausted all the time and I'm starting to see why.

imip my dd sounds very similar to yours. Fighting to get people to understand she is masking has been hard work.

Thanks for all the input and advice. I'm having a lightbulb moment reading this. Dd1 is also very demand avoidant,but uses excuses to divert my attention instead of getting upset. I'm realising why now. I feel pretty guilty that I didn't realise until I looked into DD2's behaviour.

I will research and use the strategies with both of them.
Sorry for all the questions,but how much is PDA recognised? Both DC go to CAMHS,but I don't know if it's worth mentioning it to them?
To be honest, they have been really poor with us in the past though so I don't hold out much hope.

user1483945709 Wed 18-Jan-17 12:05:13

I found with CAMHS they only focus on the child's 'inner' world and how the child can change their behaviour. Which is helpful to an extent.

They don't take into account external factors and what needs to change there.

So kind of, change child's behaviour, then return to exactly the same environment, which is probably the cause of the behaviour in the first place.

In my experience both need to make changes.

zzzzz Wed 18-Jan-17 13:13:10

I didn't engage with camhs so it would be unfair to comment really.

Melawati Wed 18-Jan-17 14:01:24

DD's demand avoidance is definitely much worse (more poorly disguised) when her anxiety is high - she doesn't have a dx of PDA, just ASD.
Like your DD1 she is quite good at excuses, diversion and distraction when she's less anxious, so it's less obviously avoidance, but when she's very anxious she presents much more like your DD2 - shouting, crying, panic.
I find reducing choice at these times is the most effective way to help as even a simple choice creates anxiety around making a decision.

Melawati Wed 18-Jan-17 14:04:47

She sees a specialist Camhs service and they are good at working on strategies that are more relevant to someone with ASD. My experience of regular Camhs is limited, but I didn't feel that they were able to adapt their approach to take into account the specific difficulties someone with ASD might have in trying to change their behaviour.

legodisasterzone Wed 18-Jan-17 15:12:49

That's l really helpful, thank you. It just feels good to think out loud to peope who understand.
melawati 'panic' sums DD up when faced with a choice. The deeper into term we go,the greater her anxiety. The week or so after Christmas, after plenty of down time,she wasn't too bad.

I also read that lists can help,rather than asking her, 'have you got your bag/PE kit?' and so on,so I will make some tick lists in s theme that will appeal to her.

Melawati Wed 18-Jan-17 16:06:11

I don't even go there with the 'have you got...?" When she's in that kind of state. Either we get everything ready together 'let's find your...' or I just do it and present it to her 'here's your...'.
Sometimes I worry that I'm not helping her move towards being more independent (she's 13) but mornings used to be such a flash point for us and by a combination of strategic planning and fortuitous timing they are much calmer these days. (There should be a 'touch wood' symbol on here grin)

PolterGoose Wed 18-Jan-17 16:20:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

legodisasterzone Wed 18-Jan-17 16:36:40

Melawati and Poltergoose same here!
On those mornings when one or both of them are anxious and panicky,there's no way I am going to add to it by telling them to put their lunch in their bag etc.
Everything is meant to be done the night before,but best laid plans and all that!

However, I frequently worry that I'm not letting them be independent enough, but maybe I need to see it a different way now.

PolterGoose Wed 18-Jan-17 16:49:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

legodisasterzone Wed 18-Jan-17 16:53:46

smile Poltergoose that really did make smile- so true. Thanks.

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